Thursday, January 20, 2005

Gambit At Ikukura

Contributor's note: It is now apparent that our gentle visitors are too clever for these dubious mysteries.... But, here's another losing entry -- your humble Contributor still bummed over the loss of grapefruit and missed trip to Tallahassee. The enigma: what did the Japanese do? (Ethnic references are not intended as derogatory, but simply in keeping with the gritty prose of this combat piece.)

Blackwood gazed across the span and wiped the diamonds of cool sweat from his brow. Damn, he thought, I've been dealt a bad hand. The Japs have us.

To the north sat Gerber -- stretched out, hunkered, and pinned down. He had made a desperate bid; then, suddenly, he realized his position and rolled up tighter than sushi. To the east and west sat the Japanese: pulling off short bursts here and there; otherwise, biding their time. Blackwood had no way of signaling Gerber now. He had tried earlier; but, apparently, Gerber never got the message.

King leaned over Blackwood's shoulder, and whispered. "Cap. We're vulnerable as hell. We gotta pull back."

Blackwood half turned and gave his junior a sharp glace. "Don't you think I know that," he hissed. "There's nothing we can do about it now, but wait...and pray. Now zip it!" Geez, he thought, Hoyle would have my butt if he knew about this.

Blackwood again looked north and, almost imperceptibly, shook his head. He couldn't figure it. He was one to call a spade a spade: let's face it, he thought, Gerber was no ace, but he was no dummy either. So, what was he thinking? He should have stopped at the pass. Between them, they could have defended, but that's all -- it just wasn't in the cards. The stakes had doubled and re-doubled. Now, it would be some trick to pull this off. Blackwood felt his heart racing and the cool sweat returning. Settle down, old man, he told himself.

Then, he turned his attention to the Japanese to the east. Yea, he thought, it's this guy's move. Everything turned on that. Maybe, thought Blackwood, our Kawasaki cadet would blaze away, or put the squeeze on us, or, maybe, just maybe, he'd jump out on a limb. True -- the Japs were basically on home turf, but this kind of maneuver was not their strength. And, clearly, Blackwood was the elder hand at this: he had been taking Scheveningen when this guy was playing at war. And, in an odd way, Gerber had offered them the bait -- maybe they thought they could slam the Yanks -- maybe...but, Blackwood held the trump.

He found himself muttering, "I'd like to call this guy's bluff."

King leaned close to his ear. "You can't do that, Cap."

Blackwood again glanced back sharply. "It's a figure of speech."

So, they waited and watched. Gerber hunkered. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the Japanese to the east spoke up.

Blackwood beamed despite himself. Yes! We got 'em.


Blogger Gone Away said...

Okay, essentially what we have here is a game of bridge (clue: "span" and all the other card game refrences). Blackwood sits in the South position and seems to have a hand of diamonds, a bad one at that. His partner in the North, Gerber, has made a rash bid after first having passed, and it is now too late for him to heed Blackwood's earlier bidding that indicated a poor hand. The Japanese to the East and West are raising the bidding slowly, presumably unsure of just how crushing their victory will be. Blackwood hopes that the Jap to the East (whose turn to bid it is) will overestimate his hand, having seen Gerber's gaffe. He does, presumably going for broke with a "seven no trump", and Blackwood is able to step in with a "double". It may be possible to work out exactly what the Jap bid but it's so long since I had anything to do with the game that this is beyond me. Sincere apologies.

1/20/2005 09:40:00 PM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

We are plagued with polymaths, 10x brighter, on a overcast day, than our own lights on a brilliant day!

Yes. Once again, Gone Away wins hands down, going away.

What, for extra credit (at our blog store), is the significance of Blackwood and Gerber?

1/20/2005 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

Blackwood, if my memory serves me correctly, is a system of bidding in bridge. Now, I could cheat and look up Gerber on Google, but I won't, preferring to confess myself beaten by that one. As it is, I'm surprised at how much I managed to remember of the game, since I was always a solo whist player rather than bridge.

A hint: don't try a chess one - that was my main passion at one time...

1/20/2005 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

Check, mate.

We'll have to scratch our head to find a sufficiently obscure subject (decorative dentistry among the Zulu?)
-- don't make your humble Contributor go back to tetherball trivia, for, in truth, there is none.

1/20/2005 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

Bad choice LOL. I lived for 27 years in Southern Africa; I'm not sure that the Zulu have much dentistry but I do reckon I know a few things about 'em. ;) In fact, if you're interested, try , click on Gone Archives and read Hymn to Hendrina and the comments to A Musical Sandwich. It'll pass the time, at least... :D

1/20/2005 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger Harry said...

I have it now. You two are spies, and I stumbled across your secret nest accidentally. Cards and chess, my ass. I'm dialing Rice or Ridge or that other R name...what is it? Michael Roore?

1/21/2005 12:47:00 AM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

Gone Away --

Harry has outlived his usefulness to us.... Wonderful fellow though.

Would you mind addressing this? If you can't get to it, let me know, and I'll pop over to Hoohooville to attend to it.

1/21/2005 09:01:00 AM  
Blogger Remainderman said...

By the way, Gone Away, thanks for the blog address -- I'll read with interest.

1/21/2005 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

I shall certainly attend to the umm 'problem' of friend Harry directly. Igor and Stanislav are leaving on that mission at this very moment.

People have been having trouble getting into my blog recently. The hosts reckon it's a problem with their server and they are working on it, with the promise that it will be up again within the next 24 hours. In the meantime, you can still visit, read and comment, should you so desire, by going to ... It's the address that's not working.

1/21/2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger Harry said...

I have now moved to Whatnext, Mississippi. Follow me, boys, or as they say down hyar, "Hey, fellers. Watch this!"

1/21/2005 01:28:00 PM  

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